support for bitmap fonts in version 44

Discussion of bugs in Mozilla Firefox
Posts: 12
Joined: July 2nd, 2006, 9:35 am

Post Posted March 18th, 2016, 12:52 am

When version 44 came along, it turned out support for bitmap fonts had been dropped. It has been filed as a bug here:

If one follows the link at comment 4, a developer says:
> I just don't see much point to supporting non-scalable fonts at this point. Supporting them adds complexity and it doesn't seem necessary. The Skia code used by Chrome includes similar logic. I think this is in keeping with the way DirectWrite dropped support of FON fonts. We need to deprecate infrequently used features that make code more complex.

I don't understand everything it that comment, but if he means Chrome does not support bitmap fonts, it's wrong. As commment 7 writes:
> It works in both webkitgtk and qtwebkit.

I also don't get the idea that bitmap fonts are no longer needed. My main problem is with CJK fonts (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) that at small or even regular sizes are too complicated for anti-aliased fonts. Note that even Microsoft still supports the display of bitmap fonts embedded in CJK fonts. (See my questions below).

There is a fix that might work (but not for me, works only partially):
set this pref to false on the about:config page
gfx.font_rendering.fontconfig.fontlist.enabled = false

It is advised against
> be aware that this workaround (i.e. the older fontconfig backend) is likely to be removed from the codebase at some point (in the fairly near future). We won't want to maintain two separate versions of the code indefinitely...

I myself downgraded to version 43.

I was thinking about *trying* to embed my favorite Japanese bitmap font in a TTF, but I don't know if Firefox supports that. Does it?

I was also wondering if developers are aware that bitmap support for CJK is useful.

Posts: 12
Joined: July 2nd, 2006, 9:35 am

Post Posted April 25th, 2016, 12:25 am

I’ve tried to convert my favorite Japanese font to/into a TTF using bdf2ttf ( ... orked.html). The conversion was not completely successful (I noticed a P where p should be; also, the letter-spacing was smaller than the original font was) but I was able to load it in gvim (gtk version) and use it. Firefox 44 however, is still unable to detect it, even as TTF. Maybe it somehow sees through my feeble attempt to package my bitmap font as a true type font and refuses to use it. Still, I will try to find advise on how to better convert my font, and perhaps change it in such a way that Firefox will accept it. All difficult for a stupid end user, progress (if any) will be slow.

BTW I tested version 45 0 2

Posts: 12
Joined: July 2nd, 2006, 9:35 am

Post Posted November 22nd, 2017, 5:49 am

It seems support for bitmaps fonts was restored in 52. (
In the mean time I had discovered that the font Sazanami Mincho,さざなみ明朝 is a TTF clone of the bitmap font I had been using (only at16pt - maybe it has a bitmap embedded).


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Post Posted November 22nd, 2017, 6:07 am

Thanks for that tip but the last post to this thread was made more than 18 months ago. It's unlikely any of the original posters was still waiting for input.

Locking this due to the age of the original posts.

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